Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are painful and uncomfortable. The condition can impact the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra, with bacteria from the bowels being the most common cause of infection. The burning, itching, and general discomfort can become all-consuming as people try to recover. For some people, a UTI means an instant trip to the doctor for a prescription to treat the infection quickly. But for people who dislike relying on medicines, there are home therapies that can be employed to treat UTIs naturally. Find out which home remedies are considered the best options and when professional treatment is best.
1. Stay hydrated
Being dehydrated can make a person more susceptible to contracting a UTI. Studies have uncovered a direct link between low urine output and an increase in the incidence and frequency of contracting UTIs. The main reason staying hydrated helps to treat a UTI is because drinking more fluids helps to increase how frequently a person uses the bathroom. As a result, harmful bacteria in the urinary tract are flushed out faster, leading to a quicker recovery. Ideally, prioritize water as the hydrating drink of choice and aim for 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
2. Cranberries for urinary tract health
Most people are familiar with the idea of drinking cranberry juice when a UTI strikes. Plenty of studies have successfully researched the benefits of cranberry juice for UTIs and wound recovery. However, opting for a natural unsweetened cranberry juice over options commonly found in grocery stores that are sugary cranberry juice cocktails is important. If cranberry juice is unappealing, cranberry supplements in pill form have also been proven effective in treating UTIs.
3. Consider hygiene practices
UTIs can happen to anyone, but some behaviors can encourage the condition to appear more than others. For example, make a habit of not waiting too long between going to the bathroom. Likewise, after sex, go to the bathroom to reduce the risk of bacterial spread. And when using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back rather than the other way around to help reduce the risk of introducing bacteria into the urinary tract.
When to see a doctor
While most UTIs can be treated completely through home remedies, a persistent UTI is a sign that a trip to the doctor is in order. Left untreated, a UTI has the potential to cause serious damage throughout the urinary tract, even potentially causing kidney damage or a life-threatening condition known as sepsis. And in pregnant women, an untreated UTI can lead to premature birth. People who notice discomfort while urinating or a persistent itching or burning sensation in the region should take a proactive approach to treat a UTI and be ready to see a doctor if symptoms don’t clear up.